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Tribal Energy and Environmental Information Clearinghouse: Environmental resources for tribal energy development
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Hydrokinetic Energy Site Evaluation: Resource Requirements and Impact Sources

The site-specific conditions of the ocean or river environment must be characterized to determine site suitability.

Before a hydrokinetic energy facility can be planned and built, various studies would be undertaken:

  • Ocean or river bottom studies;
  • Bathymetry and surficial geology identification;
  • Identification of underwater obstructions;
  • Gather seasonal sea state data (wave height, period, direction);
  • Gathering site-specific tidal, wave, seasonal river flow, or current data;
  • Topography and geomorphology of the site;
  • Evaluation of the site's potential for producing energy;
  • Hydrokinetic energy device selection;
  • Aquatic ecological studies in the site vicinity; and
  • Economic evaluation of the project.

The following factors could affect whether an environmental impact would occur and whether it would be considered an adverse effect:

  • Acreage — Site evaluation could include an extended area, but devices collecting information would occupy only a small area and would likely not be significant.
  • Emissions — Emissions would be produced by vehicles, survey ships, and any diesel equipment onboard the ship.
  • Waste Generation — Survey ship crews would produce small amounts of waste. Drilling wastes could also be generated from seafloor or riverbed geology investigations.
  • Water Needs — Water needs would be negligible.
  • Workforce — A small crew would be needed to conduct field surveys and to conduct any drilling required. Typically, no personnel support facilities would be required.
  • Time and Materials — Field characterization surveys could take several days or more per sampling season. No materials would be required beyond those necessary to conduct the surveys or for drilling.
  • Utility Requirements — There would be no utility requirements.